Do you often find yourself baffled, working for an individual who seems completely clueless? Do ill-conceived, naive directives leave you blindsided, reeling in defense, left to pick up the pieces from their ignorance?
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I recently was a motivational speaker for an HR conference where the discussion evolved to suggest how common working for a inept person is. I did some online research and found that more than 32% of respondents work for people they feel do not have the skills to do their jobs (Forbes,2009). I have worked with several absent minded individuals in work and volunteer roles, and have some ideas to shed some insight.
The other guest speakers for the HR conference agreed on the following points on How to Work for an Idiot:
- Limit the impact. Someone once said you can't fix stupid, and I agree. However you can make your working conditions more conducive to your own advancement. "You want to diminish the power of the boss's cluelessness to harm you," says John Hoover,motivational speaker who wrote a book on how to work for an idiot.
- Ask to take responsibility. When you have proven your competency, sometimes a bad boss will step out of the way. In short, he will delegate and leave you alone.
- Assess your weakness. Things that frustrate us about others are often qualities that we possess ourselves. Look inward objectively: Is your rant about them or just a reflection of yourself?
- Don't Battle. Engaging in a tug- of-war to prove a bad boss's ignorance will never end well. The worst thing you can do is attempt to put this leader's incompetence in a spotlight for all to see. When poor leadership fails, you fail. Forget about who is right and wrong. Concentrate on outcomes.
- Focus on the positive. One of the speakers for the HR conference reinforced that even if your boss is dumber than a fencepost, There must be a reason he has this leadership authority. Focus on the job, the skills you are learning, and your own advancement.
Ultimately success and stupidity don't mix and your bad boss will be gone, leaving his position open for your taking.
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